The Padres finished off the 2019 MLB Draft on Wednesday by selecting 16 pitchers and 14 position players, including six hurlers who spent last year pitching in junior college.
In the 11th round, San Diego selected UConn LHP Mason Feole who was ranked in MLB Pipeline’s Top-200. Feole only started five games for the Huskies in 2019, as he dealt with elbow soreness. When healthy, he has a low-90s fastball, a good curve and a change that hasn’t developed, according to MLB Pipeline. The southpaw is a junior, so he has the option to return to school, though most players selected in this range sign. The organization can pay any player drafted today up to $125,000 without it counting against their bonus pool.
The team three college senior pitchers on the final day, including LHP Dylan Hoffman in the 39th round out of Waldorf University. Hoffman is the son of Padres’ third base coach Glenn Hoffman and of course, the nephew of Trevor Hoffman.
The club drafted six pitchers out of junior colleges, a demographic they’ve not had a ton of success with. They started that run with righty Brandon Komar out of a program in Wisconsin at 13, and Oklahoma native Robert Briley in the 16th round, out of Seminole State. Briley has issues with his command, but the big-bodied righty was clocked at 96 mph in game action. Briley doesn’t have a commitment to a four-year school after his first season in the JuCo ranks.
On the four-year college side, the Padres drafted five position players, three of them juniors. 12th-rounder Matthew Acosta played at USC and broke out this year, slashing .307/.411/.477 with seven homers. Cross-town UCLA rival Jack Stronach, a 21st-rounder, doesn’t possess much power but only struck out 16 times in 172 plate appearances. He also attended Helix High School in La Mesa.
In the 27th-round, the Padres selected Oregon State outfielder Tyler Malone, who was announced as a catcher. Malone had a poor year offensively for the Beavers but posted an impressive 21% walk rate in the Pac-12.
On the high school side, the Padres took a couple of intriguing prospects who don’t seem likely to sign. In the 22nd round, San Diego selected third baseman Joshua Rivera, who was ranked in MLB Pipeline’s top-200 draft prospects. Rivera dealt with a few nagging injuries but reports state that he could be an above-average hitter with decent pop. He has a commitment to the University of Florida but the Padres will have some time to attempt to change his mind.
In the 23rd round, San Diego selected center fielder Maurice Hampton, who has first-round talent. Hampton, who is from the Memphis area, is an impressive athlete who is slated to play both baseball and football at LSU. As many two-sport athletes, he struggled against top competition but is obviously a tremendous athlete. It was reported in the Commercial Appeal (the local newspaper in Memphis) that it would take $2.75 million to get Hampton signed, a number the Padres can’t come close to matching as things stand.
Last season, the Padres were able to sign 12th-rounder Sean Guilbe and 15th-rounder Nick Thwaits to overslot deals. In this draft, centerfielder Andre Tarver seems like an obvious candidate to be targeted for an above-slot bonus.
Like Hampton, Tarver is a two-sport athlete with a commitment to Mississippi State. The 6’2, 210 lb. outfielder/wide receiver has impressive power and hit over .500 this season in high school. He could also follow the path of 2016 draftee A.J. Brown, whose rights the Padres retained by signing him, but who went to Ole Miss as a wide receiver and was taken in this year’s NFL draft.
San Diego selected college seniors in rounds 6-10 Tuesday, so there may be some room for the organization to sign some of the riskier high school players. The deadline for draft picks to sign is July 12.
The club has had some success over the last few years targeting high schoolers with either weak commitments or commitments to lower-tier college programs and getting them to sign just at the pool threshold. Catcher Jared Alvarez-Lopez (McNeese State), shortstop Anthony Nuñez (St. Thomas), and outfielder Pierce Jones (Northern Illinois) may follow that path.
For a full list of the players drafted, check out the MLB Draft Tracker.